There are many examples of fearless devotees performing some wonderful deeds or going into dangerous fights, devotees who had absolute faith in Lord’s backing and protection – from Prahlada Maharaj to our Srila Prabhupada. Mankeys, or vanaras, helping Sri Rama to save Sita is another example.
They formed a mighty army but they also had no weapons, nor to attack nor to protect themselves. All they had is the faith that as long as the Lord Rama is on their side they will be victorious, and even if they die, they’d die for a good cause.
What I’m confused about is why do I get to feel quite the opposite. Granted, I can’t compare myself to those vanaras but the principle should still work, shouldn’t it? I should feel the protection of the Lord, shouldn’t I?
Next week my boss wants me to do something outrageous (or so I think) and I have a million of reasons why it should not be done and I don’t need a million of reasons to say right away that it is going to be a huge inconvenience to me personally. Okay, maybe you could say that as a devotee I should be equiposed in these situations, equally indifferent to good or bad karma, right? Okay, one might be equipoised but one still can’t claim total ignorance whether something gives pleasurable or painful feelings to his body and mind.
I mean I might accept the demands of my karma and plow through anyway as was instructed by Krishna in Bhagavat Gita but I can’t help but notice that these particular karmic results are less than welcome.
Forget that little confusing thought for a moment, where should I find the inspiration to rise up and fight?
Arjuna had Krishna and His very convincing presentation in Bhagavat Gita, he definitely had Krishna on his side, too. Not the case with me. This new assignment has all the hallmarks of a frivolous entertainment, if I begged Krishna to interfere it would be in my boss’ heart first. If I begged Krishna to interfere I would pray for his protection so that He could help me to get through this calamity. I mean, whose side is he on?
From my bitter experience I can say that Krishna is rarely on my side. More often than not He is on the side of my “adversaries”, teaching me lessons and giving me bitter pills. They are for the ultimate good, I know, but the result is that I can never count on the Lord’s help and protection. I’ve developed quite an opposite reflex instead. As soon as some fight or a trial is on the horizon I immediately feel Krishna deserting me and joining my enemies. As soon as it looks like a confrontation or some great effort is coming I sigh and resign to defeat – who can fight against the Lord?
If I was in that vanara army, I would have thought I was sent there to die and Lord Rama didn’t supply me with any weapons just to make it easier to kill me. In the midst of a battle I would have thought that the Lord is guiding my enemies arrows so that they could find me faster.
That’s why I’m not in that army and if I was available at that time I would have probably joined Ravana.
Jesus, when my mind gets caught up in thoughts like this I get all confused and whiny. In this state it’s very easy for me to empathize with the said Jesus when he cried “God, why have you deserted me!” before his death. If Jesus had these feelings, what to speak of me? My faith is nowhere near his level, I can get abandoned in a second.
Why is this happening? Shouldn’t Krishna’s interventions straighten my faith instead? Shouldn’t they make me more reliant on Him, shouldn’t they make me feel better protected? It is not happening. Why?
Okay, let me try to counteract – in order to receive Lord’s protection I must try to fulfill Lord’s orders first. The vanaras were not fighting their own war whereas I’m fighting for my own sense enjoyment. I can’t expect the Lord to serve MY needs and protect me seeking ways to forget HIM, because that’s what my sense enjoyment always leads to. So it IS Lord’s mercy, Krishna is not forgetting me, He is trying to prevent me from forgetting Him!
On the other hand – why are all my fights or other endeavors never in tune with Krishna desires? I mean I can agree that as long as I’m following Krishna’s orders I will enjoy His protection but in reality it is a meaningless assurance. It’s like saying “If I was rich I would never have experienced hunger and I would always had tons of the best food available”. Yeah, right, but I’m not rich so it means nothing to me.
Same with following Krishna’s orders – it turns out I never do that and probably never will so Krishna’s promise of protection is meaningless and is inapplicable to me in my present state. He might just as well promise the Moon. It’s like watching game shows on TV with huge jackpots – yes, people win, shows work, but not for me, thank you.
So, is the whole point of this is to prove to myself that I am not really a devotee because I’m always seeking ways of self gratification and never do anything for Krishna? Okay, point taken. Now what?
Next comes the logically following question – since a real devotee never feels himself as such, where does his confidence comes from? How does a real devotee juggle these two realizations – “I have no love for Krishna” and “Krishna is always on my side and he will always protect me”? One might say that a real devotee sees the Lord on everybody’s side as “suhridam sarva bhutanam”, then the argument would be – not every devotee who feels protected by the Lord has already reached the stage of perfection.